Busker Strangely Doesburg Adds a Sense of Whimsey to Bellingham Farmers Market

Strangely playing bass
Strangely performing at Bellingham Farmers Market with the Free Range Reveleers: Ani Banani (banjolele/banjo ukulele) and Banjo Youngblood (banjo). Photo credit: Jonathan Williams Photography.
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Buskers and performers are part of the fabric of the Bellingham Farmers Market. Sure, they offer entertainment and spectacle, but their presence is more grounding than that. There’s something uniquely beautiful and whimsical about seeing people perform in such close quarters. And if any performer at the market exudes whimsy, it’s Strangely Doesburg.

Strangely grew up in Whatcom County. From reading books to exploring historical markers between Bellingham and the Grand Canyon, Strangely absorbs knowledge every chance he gets. Performance has been a part of his life for a long time, acting in musicals throughout his youth. But his love for the spotlight started well before he stood on a stage.

Strangely playing accordian
Strangely aims to provide audiences with a sense of wonder and awe that can be hard to come by in our digital age. “If I can, even for a moment, make an audience feel that profound little tickle of whimsey, I’ve done my job.” Photo courtesy: Strangely.

“In a sense, I’ve always been performing,” said Strangely. “I started taking piano lessons at the age of 4 and regularly participated in the arts at various local institutions throughout my childhood. I especially enjoyed the roar of the crowd.” After dropping out of film school in Los Angeles, Strangely started performing with a few local and national circus troupes.

“Things sort of snowballed from there,” Strangely shared. “I’m not very interested in pure circus anymore because it feels a bit narrow, with a high focus and priority placed on physical skills to the detriment of audience interaction, which I find to be the best part of live shows.”

Strangely’s influences range from Wisconsin Slim and Tomàs Ford to Andy Kaufman and The Muppets, and his skills are as wide-ranging as the artists who inspire him. Today he describes himself as an independent cabaret musician, specializing in everything from singing and playing the accordion to juggling, dancing and acrobatics.

Strangely has been performing seriously for nearly a decade now. He started busking at the Bellingham Farmers Market about four years ago, often performing with other musicians.

“The Bellingham market is pretty much the best place to perform on a weekly basis,” Strangely said. “It’s lucrative enough to make it worth it, and the crowds are very generous and friendly.” In addition to supporting his livelihood, busking at the Bellingham Farmers Market serves as something of a laboratory for Strangely.

Strangely performs at Bellingham Farmers Market
Strangely performing at Bellingham Farmers Market with the Free Range Reveleers: Ani Banani (banjolele/banjo ukulele) and Banjo Youngblood (banjo). Photo credit: Jonathan Williams Photography.

“The biggest benefit is that I have a weekly place to work out new material and songs when I’m in town,” he shared. The close interaction with friendly crowds gives him and other performers the opportunity to see how audiences might react before taking a show on the road.

But no matter where he’s performing, Strangely’s goal is to restore a sense of awe and curiosity to audiences.

“A large part of my performing is inspired by the change I want to see in the world,” he said. “I feel like one of the things people have lost in this increasingly digital age is a sense of wonder — that childlike awe at the sheer majesty and magic that is all around us. One of the reasons I like touring mainly on a bicycle is that when I arrive somewhere I’ve rolled in as a kind of thing from another time. If I can, even for a moment, make an audience feel that profound little tickle of whimsy, I’ve done my job.”

If he’s in town, you’ll likely catch Strangely performing at the Saturday Bellingham Farmers Market in Downtown Bellingham. You can keep up with Strangely’s performances on his website (strangelyandfriends.com) and on Facebook at (facebook.com/Strangely). You can also connect with him on Instagram and Twitter (@IAmStrangely).

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